10 September

Country Road. Where’s Red?

by Jon Katz

Bud and Fate were quite close to Red, and I am certain they both noticed his absence, but so far I have seen no signs that either one is preoccupied with his death, are mourning it or understand that he is really gone.

Fate was with Red for almost all of her life. Today, I saw the first signs that she was conscious of his not being with her. Through most of the summer, I couldn’t walk in the way that I have always loved to do. Some of my medications are sensitive to the sun and humidity, others to insect bites.

This summer was hot and wet, there was a strong sun, lots of humidity and hordes of bugs.

It’s getting cooler and the bugs are disappearing, I’ve resumed walking every day. Today Maria and I went out to our favorite country walking road with Fate. We left Bud chewing happily on a bone in the farmhouse.

This is where Fate and Red often used to play tag with one another, one, then the other, racing up ahead to some finish line only they knew.

Red, who was not an especially playful dog, loved this game and Fate is always happy while running back and forth like the lunatic dog she sometimes is. All along our walks, the dog would race back and forth until I told them to “leave it,” and they stopped.

Today, on our walk, Fate kept stopping and turning, at first I thought she was just staying close to us, but then I saw she was looking for Red, as she always did.

Me, too. I often turn around and look for Red, he was always right alongside me or just behind me.

Fate gave me a somewhat piercing look as if to say, “where’s Red?” and I finally told her, “Red isn’t coming back.”

Fate is a smart dog and I got the sense she grasped my meaning, if not my words. She stopped turning and looking back.

4 Comments

  1. Now you’re making me cry. When we lost our wonderful sheltie, our little Cairn terrier was devastated. We eventually got her a puppy to help fill the void. They do grieve the loss

  2. We lost a senior cat recently. There have been behaviour changes in the group, mostly one of the other male cats. Tom was apparently a calming influence. I keep hearing of friends losing animals lately. It’s getting a bit much. I know it’s all part of the agreement we make when we live with animals. I just find it very hard. Dear Zelda….

  3. This picture and your comment that Red isn’t coming back made me sad for some reason. I lost a dog right after New Years this year, and I still think of her daily. Not in grief, more of how silly she was and how cuddly she was. There are times when I really miss her. Her smiling little face as we rode in the car. Just the simple things that a dog brings to you, and they don’t even realize. She was a special little dog. I only had her for 4 years. Cancer took her way to soon.
    Thank you, I just needed to write this down…

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